The opportunities that present themselves in life never cease to amaze me. A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a small group gathering of a church we attend every now and then in Tupelo, MS where we live. The church is called Origins and the Pastor, Jason McAnally, attended the small group that night as well. As we gathered around a table to share a meal, my art came up in conversation. Jason mentioned a café in town where I might be able to hang my paintings. I thanked him for the lead, and didn’t give a whole lot of thought to the exchange beyond that. The following day my husband and Jason met for lunch. Afterwards, Jeff called me and said I should call Jason because there was a local art show at the café, Cafe 212, that night and they needed more artwork. I was a bit dumb-struck because the opportunity arose so fast. My phone call to Jason lead to another phone call from the café owner. Next thing I knew, Jeff and I were loading up paintings and delivering them to the café for the show.
We attended the opening that night, and I was pleasantly surprised to meet several other artists. One of whom was William Heard, whom I plan to write a future blog post about (but you can check out his stuff in the meantime). I also met Christina Dorough who works at the Gumtree Museum here in town. I have yet to get involved with the work they do there, but I’ll admit… they have been on my to-do list for quite sometime. I was very please to make these local contacts and look forward to future interactions with each of them.
A few days later, I ran into Jason and again the conversation turned to my artwork. I mentioned to him that I had done some live performance painting in the past and was looking for more opportunities to do so now. He was very open to the idea and said that I was welcome to paint at Origins whenever I wanted to. He explained that he was starting a new lesson series on the covenants of the bible and we agreed that I would do a painting each week during the lesson for the next six weeks. I was so excited about the opportunity, because it would produce a whole series of paintings, and open my production up to a subject matter that I had yet to pursue.
Last night the first painting in the series, called Return to Eden, was completed. Jason spoke about the promises God made to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the loss of those promises, and our hope for regaining them in the future. This is something my husband and I talk about often. We envision an earth where all humanity returns to the peace and perfection that is described in the first chapters of Genesis. This painting is a representation of that thought: a beautiful, seemingly endless garden, where people of all colors, ethnicities, nationalities and genders live together in peace. Considering the contrast this notion is to real life, I realize it sounds a bit outlandish or even hokey. But I can honestly say I hope it with every fiber of my being.
Return to Eden, 2012, 24"X48", acrylic on canvas
As the next weeks unfold, I will continue to share the other
paintings as they are completed. I
cannot express how enjoyable this process is for me or how amazed I am by the
simplicity of this opportunity coming to fruition. Thankful only scratches the surface.